Written by George Gibson
Manager, Next PIJ Platforms
Xerox Corporation

digital packaging sampleFive minutes ago I stood over a wastebasket, scissors in hand opening one of my least favorite sorts of containers – a plastic clamshell. I know why manufacturers and retailers are drawn to them, but their use as a package is just a way station on these materials’ route from the ground (as oil) to (in overwhelming fraction) the landfill. Just what we all need – another way to create garbage (I apologize to all those folks who have a vested interest in these packages, I’m just relating my personal taste here).

This experience was a whole planet away from the experience I had opening my iPhone. The packaging was beautiful. Opening it felt like a ceremony and, for no good reason in particular, I still have that packaging. This all makes me muse on why some packages are deigned from the start to be temporary (which can be a good thing if, for instance, we’re talking about packages designed to be as carbon neutral as possible).

The other day someone I love sent me some chocolate with my picture printed and some of my favorite aphorisms actually printed on them. It was so cute I NEARLY didn’t eat it. The problem was that once it was gone it was gone. I think I’ll use the package it came in do store screws in the basement workshop. The secondary packaging I just threw out. Here’s a seriously missed opportunity. With the all the information that chocolatier had about me the package could have become part of the gift – think a package that used the same information they already had about me, my picture, some “clever” things I like to say, and my birth date; and created a package that outlasted the candy. Something I would have treasured that would remind me of the sweet sentiment of the giver and their brand.

I hope you’re seeing the thread here. On the one hand we have packaging that makes me angrier and angrier the longer I struggle with it and on the other we have the potential for the package as a keepsake. Digital printing for packaging offers us the opportunity to transform the very role of the package. Please come and join us at the Xerox booth at drupa and let’s talk about how Xerox’s package printing and workflow solutions, including the exceptional personalization capability of XMPie can give your customers the power to make the leap.